One of my all time favorite activities is throwing dinner parties for friends (or better yet, going to friend’s dinner parties. (less clean up) Dining in NYC/Brooklyn is great, don’t get me wrong, but it can’t compare to a casually thrown together food/wine fest at a friends apt. It is this level of intimacy typically paired with bottle after bottle of wine that fuels a certain level of noise and rowdiness, one that you could never get away with in a restaurant. Now given all this talk about how wonderful dinner parties are…imagine a dinner party with where the host is an ex Per se, Bouley chef… sounds like a party you want to go to, right? David Santos, is doing just this, hosting his own personal dinner party project called Um Segredo, a secret dining club of sorts taking place in his homey dining room on Roosevelt Island.
I was looking forward to dinner at his place all week. I was excited however a bit apprehensive about the level of intimacy. I consider myself a pretty social person and have met amazing people while attending small dinners at Roberta’s and James beard foundation, but we have never experienced anything as intimate as this. My level of uncertainty on who the other 8 characters I would be breaking bread with only made the dinner more mysterious. (a feeling mildly similar to meeting your boyfriends/gf parents for the first time)
So the dinner started at 8:00 and in typical Jose fashion we were running late. (45 min to be exact) We made the mistake of driving and soon realized that there is limited parking on the island. Next time we will take the subway. Finding David’s apt was a bit like scavenger hunt but thankfully the well-marked signs led us without a hassle to the packed candle lit table. Thankfully the dinner had not started, but we were indeed the last to arrive. We were greeted by the mystery guests, the lovely Host and his roommate. Our fellow diners were quite a mixture of backgrounds but the one commonality was our love of food and sharing that love with one another. Ok so I know what you all really want to see is the food! Let me tell you, it was perfection. All of it!
Pheasant Terrine with port mustard
This was super old school. It has been a long time since I have had a terrine, especially one this good. The port mustard was flavorful and pushed this terrine into a whole new echelon.
Celery root Tasting, mushrooms with Truffle vinaigrette
This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. After eating dishes like this I feel fairly confident I could become a vegetarian.
Escabeche of Branzino, Piquillo pepper puree, Pickled vegetables
Yet another wonderfully flavorful and rich fish course.
The wine was flowing. Everyone brought some pretty impressive bottles.
Jose wandered back to the kitchen to check out where all the magic happens. I suggest all of the guests take advantage of this opportunity.
Stuffed Quail with Kale, barley, Plum sauce
Loved the barley.
Aged Strip steak, Mushroom puree, fingerling’s, cipollinis
Yum! What a Puree!
“Pumpkin pie” Pretzel crunch, yogurt gelato
The perfect way to end the evening
I’m pretty sure talking with David was our favorite part of the evening. Jose loved bonding with him over the wonders of Spain.
I suggest everyone books a seat at Um Segredo before it becomes not so segredo.Send an email to email@example.com to reserve a spot at the chef’s table.